Read My Liverpool Home Online

Authors: Kenny Dalglish

My Liverpool Home

Kenny Dalglish
with Henry Winter
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Hodder & Stoughton
An Hachette UK company
Copyright © Kenny Dalglish 2010
The right of Kenny Dalglish to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library
Epub ISBN 978 1 848 94691 0
Book ISBN 978 1 444 70419 8
Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
An Hachette UK Company
338 Euston Road
To Liverpool FC and the people of Liverpool for adopting me, Marina and all the kids, and for everything they’ve done for the family.
To Marina, Kelly, Paul, Lynsey and Lauren – the best team I’ve ever represented. Many might think it would be great to be the son or daughter of a person in the public eye, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, other people’s reactions have made it difficult for the kids, and all four have been a credit to themselves. We’re really proud of them. The way they’ve grown up and conducted themselves is a tribute to their mother, who was there to bring them up. I didn’t mind one bit playing the role of Assistant Manager in that team.
First of all, thanks are due, as ever, to my mum Cathy and my dad Bill for all the sacrifices they made for my benefit and for giving me a sense of discipline. Thanks are also due to my sister Carol, whose support, like my parents’, was unfailing, and to Marina’s dad Pat, mother Martha and sister Catherine. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my career, but most of all I want to thank my wife Marina and my children Kelly, Paul, Lynsey and Lauren just for always being there. I will never forget what they have all done for me.
My thanks to Henry Winter, Football Correspondent of the
Daily Telegraph
, for recording my story; Roddy Bloomfield, my publisher at Hodder & Stoughton; assistant editor Sarah Hammond; copy-editor Marion Paull; and John Keith for the statistics at the back of this book.
Glossary of nicknames
Barney – Alan Kennedy
Belly – Alan Kennedy
Big Al – Alan Hansen
Billy – Alan Kennedy
Bugsy – Ronnie Moran
Bumper – Steve Nicol
Cally – Ian Callaghan
(Champagne) Charlie – Graeme Souness
Clem – Ray Clemence
Digger – John Barnes
Doc – David Johnson
Dogs – Kenny Dalglish
Dugs – Kenny Dalglish
Dusty – Ronnie Whelan
Fergie – Alex Ferguson
Golden Bollocks – Kenny Dalglish
Hodgy – David Hodgson
Howie – Howard Gayle
Jinky – Jimmy Johnstone
Jocky – Alan Hansen
Lawro – Mark Lawrenson
Nealy – Phil Neal
Nico – Steve Nicol
Old Bob – Bob Paisley
Omar – Ian Rush
PBR – Peter Robinson
Robbo – Michael Robinson
Rushie – Ian Rush
Smithy – Tommy Smith
Souey – Graeme Souness
Super – Kenny Dalglish
Super Sub – David Fairclough
Terry Mac – Terry McDermott
The Incredible Turning Man – Frank McGarvey
Tosh – Ian Rush
Tosh – John Toshack
Vitch – Ronnie Whelan
Wee Tam – Tommy Craig
Whip – David Fairclough
is Anfield, this is home and this is 2010. When I settle into my Main Stand seat on match-day, my eyes instinctively swivel right towards my favourite sight in football – the Kop. I feel Anfield sway as the Liverpool supporters sing their songs, wave their flags and their many colourful banners, showing their undying love for Stevie Gerrard and the team. Listening to this massed terrace choir, my heart fills with regret as well as awe. For all the hundreds of times I performed in front of the Kop, I never got to stand on it. I never experienced life among that great community nor the surge of emotion as the goalscorer turns to salute them. I wanted to be in among the Liverpool fans, thanking them for being there, for keeping the faith and always reminding the players that, as the anthem says, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. A strange feeling runs through me. For those standing on the Kop, I lived a dream they craved. Pulling on the No. 7 shirt of Liverpool was an honour I felt hugely yet I envied the fans on the Kop for living the dream I desired. If only I could have joined them to share the atmosphere, jokes, stories and camaraderie. Just once.
The people of Liverpool have always been in my heart. From the moment Bill Shankly invited me down from Scotland for a trial in 1966, the first stirrings of a love affair began. When Bob Paisley signed me from Celtic in 1977, giving me a chance to perform in front of the Kop, that passion deepened. Even when I moved away, finding employment at Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and briefly back up at Celtic, memories of special times drifted through my mind. I remembered the European Cups, FA Cups and Championships, the friendship of special team-mates, the unquestioning backing of the Kop and then the challenge of management after 1985. The darkest of hours, brought on by Heysel and Hillsborough, were never forgotten, never will be and never should be. Those deaths still haunt me. I think of the 96 who fell on the Leppings Lane End, and of how the Kop became a shrine with flowers and tributes spreading across the terrace and then the pitch, a beautiful demonstration of the depth of emotion. I wished the club had left the Kop covered in all those wreaths, scarves and mementos as a monument to people’s love for the 96. During Hillsborough, we stood shoulder to shoulder with the families of those who died, helping them as they grieved. I still share their anger towards the Football Association and particularly South Yorkshire Police, who took twenty years to admit their part in a disaster that could have been avoided. I totally understand the families’ distaste for a particular newspaper, which caused such distress with its vile allegations about Liverpool fans. Neither the newspaper nor the authorities have ever said sorry. That one word would mean so much, bringing closure for many of the families. The Kop wants justice and so do I.
As a man with Liverpool in my heart, the trauma of Hillsborough stayed with me. I’ll never forget the stress counsellor who came into my Anfield office after the tragedy, telling me I needed to talk about the stresses and strains I was going through. I sent her packing. How could anyone help me deal with the pressure? This lady was, I’m sure, highly qualified and well intentioned but I wouldn’t dream of opening up to her, a stranger, about a matter so intensely private. I never even spoke to my wife Marina about Hillsborough. Having talked to the families all day, I just couldn’t discuss my own feelings, which seemed insignificant compared with their grief. The Kop was in mourning and I focused all my energies and emotion on helping the people of Liverpool. Anyway, I just couldn’t comprehend how some counsellor could cure heartache. She’d leave my office but the numbness would remain. Only on the twentieth anniversary in 2009, when everybody was talking about Hillsborough, did I feel I could properly open up. Even so, recalling the events of 15 April 1989 proved a painful experience in these pages.
Hillsborough changed me, changed the sport I love and changed my Anfield home. It was a sad day when they ended standing on the Kop, sad but inevitable. Liverpool had to comply with the Taylor Report’s requirements for all-seater stadia after the crushing on the Leppings Lane End. Sadly, the atmosphere has altered – you can’t ask the fans to sit in orderly rows and then expect a completely raucous crowd. But when I hear people propose the return of standing, I shake my head, knowing how present legislation would prevent that and how it would be disrespectful to those who lost loved ones.
For all the changes, the Kop still retains much of its old power, rolling back the years for a big match, particularly in Europe or if Manchester United are in town. As I sit and admire the Kop, my mind rewinds to my playing days – like in May 1982 when I scored against Ray Clemence, an old friend returning with his new Spurs team-mates. The fans came spilling down the Kop, right down to the railings at the front and if I could have leapt into the crowd, I’d have thrown myself into their embrace. Leaning over the railings, I celebrated with them as they poured forward. This wave of humanity then fell back, and people returned to their starting positions. The crowd’s ebb and flow has always fascinated me. Really, I should have known, having spent my youth watching Rangers at Ibrox with my dad. Every game, Dad led me down the same passageway, heading for the same barrier, meeting his same mates from work. Liverpool fans flooding on to the Kop in the hour before kick-off had the same ritual, all with their own set places. After Hillsborough, I understood the Kop more as I walked on the terrace and saw all the keepsakes left in the spot where that person once stood. The Kop was so much more than an uncoordinated congregation – 25,000 individuals formed that mass and all had their own separate place almost reserved for them.
During my time managing Liverpool, my son Paul enjoyed the privilege of life on the Kop. Paul came in through the front door, walked past the dressing rooms and went out along the track. Stewards led him on to the Kop and left him with a boy from Edinburgh called Jim Gardiner, a huge fan who came to all our games, home and away. Of course, I worried about Paul going on the Kop but I knew Jim would take care of him. As a thank you to Jim, I gave him directors’ box tickets for my testimonial, and Jim was so excited he got there at six, sitting in his seat for an hour and a half before kick-off. That’s the type of people they are on the Kop, passionate about Liverpool. Jim would stand with Paul just in front of a pillar, protecting him in case fans pushed forward. As Paul headed on to the Kop one day, a photographer overheard one steward saying to another, ‘This is Kenny’s boy. Any trouble, get him out at once.’ Waiting until Paul took up his position with Jim, the photographer snapped away. I admit the picture that appeared in the papers was wonderful, capturing the passion of a young fan watching the team he adored but I was still annoyed. I feared people might believe the picture was stage-managed, because it was taken in the wake of Heysel, when 39 mainly Juventus fans died, and Paul wore a Juventus shirt out of solidarity for the Italians. So there was Paul on the Kop, in that black-and-white top and Liverpool scarf, giving it plenty, singing his heart out and I must confess to a twinge of jealousy.
After every game, I drove home with Paul, quizzing him about the experience. ‘What was it like singing the songs? Did one person start them? Which players got stick? Tell me the jokes you heard.’ I was full of questions for Paul. Standing among the fans was a great thrill for Paul, helping him appreciate even more how much Liverpool meant to people.
What made the Kop unique was the amazing number of characters who congregated there, and I genuinely believe no other terrace in English football contained as many witty souls. One day, I tried to curl a free-kick into the Kop goal and it was a shocker, veering away for a throw-in. ‘What a waste of money,’ the Kop sang about me, their sense of irony a joy to hear. Then they started chanting ‘Dalglish!’ as if to remind me of my place in their hearts. Hearing them sing my name always lifted me. One of their favourites was ‘I’d walk a million miles for one of your goals, oh Kenny . . .’ and one season they almost had to travel that far before I scored. The beauty of the Kop is that people can laugh at themselves. When Manchester United visited in 2009 after the beach-ball goal at Sunderland, everybody knew the United fans would throw inflatable beach-balls on to the pitch, so the Kop beat them to it, kicking hundreds on to the pitch, claiming ownership of the joke. The stewards all had pins to burst the United balls anyway. I’ll never forget back in 1980 when Liverpool faced Grimsby Town in the FA Cup and the fans changed all the players’ names to fish to reflect Grimsby’s major industry. Phil Neal became ‘Phil Seal’, Jimmy Case was ‘Jimmy Plaice’ and there was ‘Sting Ray Kennedy’ while I was ‘Kenny Dogfish’.

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